Stephen Jota first had the idea to build a Children's Centre in the mid 1990s when he was pastoring a church in a slum area of Kampala and caring for hundreds of children living in poverty many of whom had lost one or both parents to AIDS and other illnesses.
One day as he watched a group of children scavenging on the garbage heap the idea of building a Children's Centre was born in his heart. He knew God was saying that he loved these children and wanted the very best for them. Stephen's response was that if God would provide the resources he would build the Children's Centre.
In 1999 land was provided at a place called Nsumbi, 9km from Kampala and building work began with a group of people from Northern Ireland and Mike Manthorpe (one of the trustees of Nsumbi Trust) from England.
In February 2001, the first 80 children began their schooling at the Stephen Jota Children's Centre. Each day Stephen would transport the children from the slums to the Children's Centre. Later in the year, as the number of children doubled, a mini-bus was donated which enabled 30 children to be transported at a time.
When this became too much, temporary accommodation for the children was arranged near the Centre. It was very basic and overcrowded but it was better than where they had been living. In 2005 more land was purchased and plans to build a Children's Hostel to house the children were put into action and the hostel was completed in 2008.
In 2011, the 10th Anniversary of the school opening looked back in celebration at all God has done. The original vision has developed and grown beyond expectation.
Today, the Children's Centre can provide schooling, food and healthcare for up to 400 children with boarding for up to 200 children. 250+ students have graduated to secondary school, and some progressed to university studying subjects such as law, medicine, community health, meteorology, mass communication and management leadership. Others are taking vocational training courses in things like tailoring and motor mechanics.
Stephen remains committed to supporting the children until they are old enough to support themselves and they work hard to give them the very best they can.
More land has been secured 40 miles away that is used for farming and it is planned to become self-sufficient in food.
In 2012 building work began on Sozo High School located near to the farm. Initially the school catered for the first 3 years of secondary education but from 2014 it has been able to offer 'O' level study alongside training in farming.
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"If we don't show the children love, they will never know in the whole world that there is anything called love. That's why I want to build the Children's Centre to show the love of God to the children in our country." Stephen Jota, Uganda.